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[kur-chif, -cheef] /ˈkɜr tʃɪf, -tʃif/
a woman's square scarf worn as a covering for the head or sometimes the shoulders.
1250-1300; Middle English kerchef, syncopated variant of keverchef < Old French cuevrechef literally, (it) covers (the) head. See cover, chief
Related forms
kerchiefed, kerchieft, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kerchief
  • He is wear- ing a suit, as he is in almost every avail- able picture, and his tie and pocket hand- kerchief are expertly plumped.
  • She selected it at a stand in the public market, and she made them unfold every kerchief they had.
  • One is worth more to scent your hand-kerchief with than any perfume which they sell in the shops.
  • He wears a wide-brim hat, a loose shirt of brown muslin, a kerchief knotted around his neck.
  • Usually a white kerchief covers her entire head and ears.
  • Wear a hat or kerchief while cooking so your hair will not pick up food odors.
British Dictionary definitions for kerchief


a piece of cloth worn tied over the head or around the neck
Derived Forms
kerchiefed, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cuevrechef, from covrir to cover + chef head; see chief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kerchief

early 14c., curchef, earlier kovrechief (early 13c.), from Anglo-French courchief, Old French couvrechief, literally "cover head," from couvrir "to cover" (see cover) + chief "head" (see chief).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kerchief in the Bible

mentioned only Ezek. 13:18, 21, as an article of apparel or ornament applied to the head of the idolatrous women of Israel. The precise meaning of the word is uncertain. It appears to have been a long loose shawl, such as Oriental women wrap themselves in (Ruth 3:15; Isa. 3:22). Some think that it was a long veil or head-dress, denoting by its form the position of those who wore it.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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